Family shares why it's important to register storm shelters

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Those who own storm shelters may feel safe, but there is a crucial step that saves lives and is easy to do, storm shelter registration.

Registering storm shelters and safe rooms can be life-saving because after a storm hits and debris covers the area, finding shelters can be difficult.

When it comes to keeping her family safe during severe weather, Marci Gilbert who lives in Iowa Park said she wants to be prepared.

"I felt like we live so far in the country that it would be hard to get somewhere that's safe," said Gilbert.

To ease her mind, she had a safe room installed in her home. It is equipped with a weather radio, water bottles, important documents and other items to make sure her family of four has a place to seek shelter when severe weather strikes.

"I can tell you personally that it makes me feel so much better knowing that storm seasons coming," said Gilbert.

Because Gilbert knows the unthinkable can happen.

"I've always been a little bit afraid of storms," said Gilbert. "I think I get it from my mom and just keeping my kids safe and keeping myself safe is really important to me."

If a tornado touches down causing destruction and covering her storm shelter with debris, Gilbert also knows that help will be on the way because her safe room is registered with the county.

Gilbert said after her family's safe room was completed within a few days the county came out and registered it.

Wayne Bullington an American Tornado Shelter Association certified installer and builder with Safe Solutions Safe Rooms - Storm Shelters, said that is a necessary step. Bullington has built safe rooms for decades and said underground and above ground safe rooms need to be registered with an exact GPS location.

Underground safe rooms are more likely to be covered with debris and harder to find after a storm.

"It's not that anyone needs to know where they're at, except for the rescues," said Bullington. "So it's critical, it's really important."

Plus all of your info is kept private.

"With GPS coordinates it's a lot easier to locate individuals but the data is very secure," said Bullington.

The process is free and can be done over the phone or online. Bullington said rebate shelters and safe rooms, shelters where a portion of the cost is paid with government grants, must be registered.

Gilbert said that rebate helped her family purchase their safe room, which is a small price to pay to keep your loved ones alive. She also has offered for her neighbors to take cover with them if they need to.

Bullington offers this advice for those who are looking to buy a safe room for their home. Shop around and make sure the one you choose is within your budget and fits your needs. He said most importantly make sure it's a certified safe room and put in by a certified installer.

"It's an insurance policy that keeps on giving you know that you have a sense of protection," said Bullington.

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